The Dec. 14 editorial “RFK Stadium is a wasted asset” was not wrong about the need to rethink the use of the National Park Service land that is home to the old RFK Stadium. However, the editorial’s support of a backdoor effort by the District and Republicans in Congress to insert language into a must-pass appropriations bill is terribly misguided. Decisions about the use of public lands — whether in Minnesota or the District — should be transparent and respect federal taxpayers.

This parcel, 190 acres of riverfront land 2 miles from the Capitol, could be worth billions. Is it in the federal interest to subsidize a billionaire National Football League team owner by turning over the land for free? Furthermore, with an $11 billion maintenance backlog, how could the National Park Service (or Congress) ever justify giving away such a valuable asset?

I support statehood and home rule for the District. However, my job in Congress is to protect our public lands, not give them away to benefit professional sports franchises, the fossil fuel industry or any other private interests. If the District wants control of the RFK site, then the mayor and D.C. Council can work openly with Congress to advance the District’s interests. Meanwhile, I am going to work to secure the best deal for federal taxpayers. This should be a win-win opportunity.

Betty McCollum, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, represents Minnesota's 4th Congressional District in the House and is the ranking member of the interior, environment and related agencies appropriations subcommittee.

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